Letter from the President

 

Welcome to AFTA. In 2018, we will be celebrating our 40th year of existence as an organization of passionate, committed clinicians, researchers, authors, academicians, policy makers, and leaders of agencies and programs. We are systemic thinkers, dedicated to supporting and sustaining families and communities.

AFTA’s vision is one of a just world, accomplished by transforming social contexts that promote health, safety, and well being of all families and communities. We support that vision through our mission of developing, researching, teaching, and disseminating progressive, just family therapy, and family centered practices and policies.

As President from July 2017 through June 2019, I hope to be of service to everyone in this organization. It is my fondest wish to realize the vision I articulated shortly after I was elected:

I want us to move forward as a strong and well-governed organization, one that is inclusive, open, and respectful of all members. I commit to listen so that people feel heard and meaningful dialogue can take place.

Over the years, many of us have talked about AFTA as our “professional home.” I want us to work together to make it a welcoming place for everyone, for all the different groups in AFTA, a home that is intellectually stimulating and a home where long-lasting relationships are developed and nurtured.

AFTA’s leadership group plays a vital role in ensuring that the organization is inclusive of the various constituencies that make AFTA such an exciting community. I am pleased that the recent election has created a governing body that is more representative of our membership than ever before.

Let’s continue to do what we do well. As an organization, we are dedicated to the well being of families worldwide. Our commitment to socially just innovative theory and clinical practice affirms this dedication. The Annual Meeting presents what we do best, highlighting cutting-edge ideas as well as creating space for rich dialogue among members. I am very excited about the 40th Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, June 21-24, 2018, which has as its theme Relational Activism: Supporting Just Relationships in Family Therapy. This theme echoes the vision I have for AFTA. The program chairs are Justine D’Arrigo-Patrick and Chris Hoff, who are actively engaging their committee to develop stimulating plenaries, continuing interest groups and lively brief presentations.

We have invited Dr. AnaLouise Keating from Texas Woman’s University to be our keynote speaker. Dr. Keating writes in the traditions of radical U.S. women-of-color feminist/womanist thought and queer studies, inviting us to transform how we think about identity, difference, social justice and social change, reading, and teaching. See more about AnaLouise Keating.

Mark the date of the Annual Meeting—July 21-24, 2018—on your calendars.

I hope you all have read, or will read, the Strategic Plan. It is a distillation of thinking of many people who care about AFTA’s mission and vision. I believe it provides guidance to ensure that new initiatives go forward, vitalizing AFTA now and for the future.

We welcome you to explore all the resources available with our website https://afta.org/, currently being upgraded for easier access to find members and search for therapists. Also, be sure to access our Springer Brief Series, free as a member benefit.

AFTA has several position papers listed on the website. We are continuing to write position papers and op-ed pieces to address national issues that impact families and communities. Current events in our country— blatant racism, gun violence, immigrant backlash, discrimination against the LGBTQ communities, growing inequality—are all being played out in our current political climate and should not be ignored by any of us. We will continue to address these issues in the context of our practice and our commitment to social justice.

Committees are the backbone of AFTA’s work, and the way we meet and work with colleagues, and stay connected and engaged with one another. Committees meet year round. There is a list of committees on the website. Please contact the chairperson of the committee to join.

I look forward to these next two years of good work promoting AFTA, ensuring its health and stability, and keeping vibrant the professional home it is for so many of us. Please join me in the work as we move AFTA towards its future.

With respect,
Vicki Dickerson
President